Spicy Chicken Nachos

For those that have known me only since I moved to Portland two years ago, few know this dirty little secret about my past: I used to be a server and bartender at the Cheesecake Factory – first and for three years in Wauwatosa, Wis., and next and for a little over three months in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Back when I worked at the Cheesecake Factory I was about 15 pounds heavier, which may not be surprising to anyone who’s ever worked in the restaurant biz. When you work in a restaurant, you often eat the restaurant’s food. One of my favorite things to eat when I worked at the Wauwatosa Cheesecake Factory – which I would often split with another one of the bartenders on duty (Laura) – was the Factory Nachos appetizer. The nachos came on this huge platter and were topped with melted cheese, spicy chicken, jalapeños, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. (For a picture of the Cheesecake Factory’s Factory Nachos click here.)

This is gross, but Laura and I could polish off the entire dish. And then split a dessert. Our favorite dessert to split was Fresh Strawberry Shortcake (click here for a picture) with an extra biscuit. (Now we know why I was 15 pounds heavier at the time. Thankfully with age my appetite has diminished.)

This afternoon when trying to figure out what to do with the chicken in my fridge, my mind floated to the times Laura and I would sit on the floor of the paper room counting our cash tips and noshing on nachos and strawberry shortcake. As far as my life has come since those days, I still enjoy awesome nachos and strawberry shortcake now and again. Just not in one sitting!


  • nacho chips
  • shredded Monterrey jack and cheddar cheeses
  • shredded chicken
  • taco seasoning
  • guacamole
  • sour cream
  • diced tomatoes


  1. Cook shredded chicken over medium heat in a mixture of taco seasoning and water until all the liquid has been absorbed in the chicken/cooked out. Set aside.
  2. In a single layer place nacho chips on an oven-proof plate or platter. Sprinkle liberally with shredded cheeses. Place in your oven under the broiler for two or three minutes or until cheese is completely melted.
  3. Remove from oven and cover with chicken and tomatoes. Add a dollop of guacamole and sour cream on the center of the plate of nachos. Serve immediately.

The plate of nachos I made was probably less than half the size of a platter of Factory Nachos. I couldn’t even finish the plate. Oddly about a half an hour after I was done eating, I had a craving for dessert. I guess some habits never die.

Recipe rating: 

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